120 Reasons To Live: Unsane

Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.

#109: Unsane “Scrape”

As entertaining as it is to watch skateboarders and bikers eat pavement in the 1995 video for “Scrape,” the enduring image put forth by New York City’s Unsane is the cover of its 1991 self-titled debut: a photo of a man decapitated by a subway rail, with a cherry-red blood streak that makes it look fake, something completely staged by the horror movie-obsessed guys in the band. But, as Unsane singer/guitarist Chris Spencer told MAGNET a few years ago, it was real. The photo of the man pushed to his death in Union Square was given to bassist Pete Shore by a friend in the NYPD. Though Unsane did go on to stage its subsequent blood-soaked album covers, the band remained true to its dystopian grind and has outlived most of its early-’90s contemporaries (Helmet, Pussy Galore, lots of AmRep bands).

Fun Fact: Both Unsane and Hootie & The Blowfish released albums titled Scattered, Smothered & Covered. Hootie’s title indicated the record was a covers album, while Unsane’s title, well, let’s just say the album cover is an arm sticking out from under a bloody pillow, with a hammer lying nearby.